Despite constant efforts to prevent workplace harassment, it persists, many reliable studies show. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released the findings of a select task force on the study of harassment in the workplace.
The report makes the following recommendations regarding workplace leadership and accountability:
* Employers should foster an organizational culture in which harassment is not tolerated, and in which respect and civility are promoted. Employers should communicate and model a consistent commitment to that goal.
* Employers should assess their workplaces for the risk factors associated with harassment and explore ideas for minimizing those risks.
* Employers should conduct climate surveys to assess the extent to which harassment is a problem in their organization.
* Employers should devote sufficient resources to harassment prevention efforts, both to ensure that such efforts are effective, and to reinforce the credibility of leadership’s commitment to creating a workplace free of harassment.
* Employers should ensure that where harassment is found to have occurred, discipline is prompt and proportionate to the severity of the infraction. In addition, employers should ensure that where harassment is found to have occurred, discipline is consistent, and does not give (or create the appearance of) undue favor to any particular employee.
* Employers should hold mid-level managers and front-line supervisors accountable for preventing and/or responding to workplace harassment, including through the use of metrics and performance reviews.
* If employers have a diversity and inclusion strategy and budget, harassment prevention should be an integral part of that strategy.